Guess what time of year it is?! It's strawberry season in eastern North Carolina, and we can't wait to sample all the sweetness that comes along with these berry delights! The longer days and the increased warmth of the spring sunshine makes our strawberries a sweet luscious treat. This bright red fruit can be enjoyed in so many ways....eaten straight off the plant while you are still standing in the field, or in a wide variety of desserts, preserves, salads and more.
Here in Ocean Isle Beach, our go to strawberry fields are located at Heritage Fresh Market and Indigo Farms Market. For those who want their strawberries with a side of experience....you should try "u-pick". You will be given a small bucket, and ushered out into a field that is ripe for the picking. You provide your own labor to procure your fruit. This a great activity for families, or even for a date! Your strawberries will be weighed, and you will pay a lower price per pound since you picked them yourself.
If picking berries isn't your thing, then the friendly folks at Indigo Farms Market will be happy to sell you berries that have already been picked. You can buy a whole flat of strawberries or a pint...the choice is yours. But be sure to check their Facebook page for updates on field openings and availability. Strawberry season varies from year to year, depending on local weather and a variety of other factors.
Is your mouth watering yet? We have a few tips and tricks for you to make the most out of strawberry season....and we even have an easy recipe for you to try!! Strawberries...just another reason why Ocean Isle Beach is an excellent place to vacation!
5 Great Strawberry Picking Tips That Will Make Your Day
1. Ask questions! When you arrive at the strawberry field, ask the attendant what kind of strawberries are growing. Most growers will produce a berry that is best suited to multi-task. These berries are good for canning, baking, eating fresh, or dehydrating. Some growers produce multiple kinds of strawberries, varying in sugar content. So be sure to ask, that way you pick the berries that are best suited for your needs. It is also a good idea to ask which area in a filed is the best to pick from!
2. Wear close-toed shoes! The weather is warmer, and it is a real temptation to wear flip-flops or sandals on your strawberry picking expedition. However, spring is also when snakes begin to make appearances. While it is highly unlikely that you will come across a snake while picking strawberries, it is possible. Snakes aren't fond of stampeding little feet, so they will most likely find somewhere else to hide besides a u-pick strawberry patch. Closed toes shoes are smart for another reason also....dirt! Our sandy soil normally has two conditions...dry & dusty or wet & muddy. So wear an old pair of sneakers, and bring your favorite flip-flops to wear home!
3. Protect yourself from the sun! It's the time of year when it isn't blazing hot, so you don't think about the damage the sun can do to your skin. Be sure to protect yourself and your family by bringing a hat, sunscreen, and WATER!! It isn't a bad idea to bring along some bug repellent, especially during the evening.
4. Establish some ground rules. Talk to your kids about which berries to pick...because little one can be over zealous and pick all the strawberries, not just the ripe ones! Encourage everyone in your party to stay in the rows, and to not step over the strawberry hills. Little feet can do big damage to a strawberry plant. Also, fields are normally pretty large and can be quite busy, so set some boundaries about how far your child can be away from you.
5. Have fun!!! Strawberry season is short! So enjoy it. Pick all the strawberry you can, eat some now, and save some for later! Below, we have a fabulous freezer jam recipe that is sure to please.
How to Save Your Strawberry for Another Day
Now that your entire kitchen smells of sweet strawberry goodness, it's time to do something with those berries. One way to preserve them in order to be enjoyed for months to come...is to make Strawberry Freezer Jam
. Pinterest is loaded with great recipes, but we found one from Kelly at Here Comes the Sun that is quite fabulous! She has easy to follow, step-by-step instructions...pictures included! We have included the basic recipe, but for full instructions, you can visit her blog.
One of the reason that we love this recipe, is that no special equipment is required. If you are on an Ocean Isle Beach vacation
, your rental kitchen is the perfect place for the family to gather and make some tasty memories! All you are going to need is strawberries, sugar, fruit pectin, jars, a way to crush the berries, and a saucepan! You can buy Sure Jell at any grocery store. In a big box store like Walmart, it will be in the canning section, which is normally close to the kitchen utensil aisle. Are you ready to try your hand at making jam? Yummy!!
2 pints strawberries
4 cups sugar
1 box Sure Jell fruit pectin
3/4 cup water
Half Pint Sized Mason Jars
Now that your strawberry freezer jam is made, you can smear it on a slice of fresh baked bread, and enjoy it with a cup of morning coffee....all while you enjoy amazing ocean views from your Williamson Realty Vacations rental! If that sounds good to you, and you haven't yet booked your 2017 getaway, call the Ocean Isle Beach vacation experts today!! They will help you find the perfect beach vacation rental that will fit your family, your lifestyle, and your budget.